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©2019 Blaine Hoppenrath

Outdoor Enthusiast 

For the

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"Over time I realized I needed a uniquely feminine way of being in nature, of "going in," one that included fears and failings (and even crying) but also intimacy and community."

Almost Somewhere tells the story of three women who hiked the John Muir Trail while trying to find themselves.  This true story tells a tale of one wild adventure of discovery on the trail. 

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"The river that had carved the Grand Canyon was basically an outlaw, a renegade that moved according to its own rules."

The Grand Canyon is one of the most magical places on earth.  The views get better when actually down at the Colorado River.  The Emerald Mile is the tale of the fastest know descent down the river in the legendary dory boats.  This book will take your breath away as the trio of boaters navigate one of the most amazing rivers in the world. 

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“In the case of pain, perhaps the one we know hurts us less than the one we fear.”

While I have no desire to hike the Appalachian Trail (at least not in the near future), North is an incredible book about an incredible feat that will may you wanderlust about what all is possible in your life.  For me, can I really attempt that 50k race? Can I really do another long distance hike?  Can I really get an FKT?  This book will inspire you to do something great. 

“At least now I knew that my heart was wedded to the mountains--to the wild places. It was there, and there alone, that I was whole, contented, and blissful."

For the best writing of the PCT, or any long distance hiking, Thirst is perhaps the best description of a trail that I have read.  Anish has a way of taking all of my inter-most thought and feelings about trail and putting them into words that made sense.  

Political Activist 

For the

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"The prosecutor's job is not to exact the greatest possible punishment.  It is not to win at all costs. It's to offer mercy in equal measure to justice"

The effort to reform criminal justice is a daunting task, even for the most seasoned activist.  In Charged, the author takes a deep dive in the role the prosecutors take in criminal justice reform.  As a citizen, it is an eye opener into how one person can hold so much power. 

"Being privileged doesn't mean that you are always wrong and people without privilege are always right. It means that there is a good chance you are missing a few very important pieces of the puzzle."

As a cis, straight, white female there is a lot of privilege that I get just by being born the way I am.  But in So You Want to Talk About Race everyone can gain a new perspective on how race plays a role in everyone's lives on a daily basis and how to be aware and cognizant of how race effects people's life in a way that you may never have realized.

“You can’t ever really know someone else’s mind or someone else’s heart, what someone else is capable of.”

Doing Justice is another look into the role a prosector plays in the criminal justice system.  Personally, this book is best when read in conjunction with Charged. However, this book looks at the role of federal prosecutors and how innovation and thinking outside the box is so important in that office. 

“Barack Obama made this entire story possible, taught me more than I could ever put into words, and continues to give me faith in the world as it ought to be.”

Obama fan or not, this book is probable on of the best to get an insider look at foreign policy operates within an administration.  In The World as It Is, we are taken into a world where on wrong misstep can have dire consequences for the rest of the world.  It is amazing how our State Department and Foreign Policy experts are constants pushing a very fine line towards a better world for everyone, not just Americans. 

Fierce Woman  

For the

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"I didn’t ask for illness but I own it, because if I don’t, no one else will. And taking ownership has empowered me to believe that things can change."

Salt In My Soul is a beautifully written book about not taking life for granted, trying to live in the moment, trying to believe that life will be better.  Mallory's journey with CF is heartbreak and beautiful all at the same time.   The book is a reminded to be grateful each and every day. 

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“You cannot bubble wrap and protect your heart from life, and why should you? It is meant to be used, and sometimes broken. Use it up, wear it out, leave nothing left undone or unsaid to the people you love. Let it get banged up and busted if it needs to. That’s what your heart is there for.”

Get ready for a gut punch in No Happy Endings.  Nora has a way of kicking you in the butt and yet supporting you when you need it.  She is there to tell you that life is going to be okay and "Never should yourself."  It is the kick in the ass you never knew you needed.  

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“You should always be prepared to defend your choices, whether just to yourself (sometimes this is the hardest) or to your coworkers, your friends, or your family. The quickest way for people to lose confidence in your ability to ever make a decision is for you to pass the buck, shrug your shoulders, or otherwise wuss out. Learning how to become a decision maker, and how you ultimately justify your choices, can define who you are.”

Who Thought This Was A Good Idea speaks to me in ways I don't fully understand.  When I feel like I don't have my life together I can turn to this book and know that eventually, it will all work out.

“What the hell are we doing? And was it always this bad? Was the world always on fire and I hadn’t been looking up?”

I could not put this book down.  It was one of the first books I read in 2019 and one of the best too.  I mean she got to work in the White House after responding to a CL add, and yet her personal life is sort of a cluster.  Maybe I liked this book so much because in that aspect it was 100% relatable. 

All of 2019